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Bloomberg: Japanese mirrorless growth a threat to Canon and Nikon

By dpreview staff on Sep 8, 2011 at 20:57 GMT

Financial news service Bloomberg is using Japanese market data to show the extent to which Canon and Nikon are facing competition from mirrorless cameras. The report focuses on the success of mirrorless cameras in Japan, eating into the previously dominant market positions of Nikon and Canon. It goes on to quote business analysts as saying 'in the long run, Canon and Nikon will have to enter the market.' (via Rob Galbraith DPI)

Click here to read the Bloomberg report

Comments

Total comments: 184
12
GMak
By GMak (Dec 2, 2011)

I suggest everyone on this discussion of MIL vs DSLR read "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen. The Harvard Biz School prof's national bestseller explains exactly what's going on here: disruptive technology (DT.) To those of you so sure that MIL will/will not replace DSLRs, read the book. We probably can't predict it right now.

At first, DT is never as good as the technology it will soon replace. So it often gets applied in areas not originally foreseen- where the negatives aren't important but the positives are the solution to a critical problem of that market. That gives DT economies of scale and increased quality - then it may come back to dominate the market for which it was originally intended.

Polaroid & Kodak failed to embrace digital photography because it was first seen as terribly inferior to standard film technology- they couldn't imagine it getting better!

Canon and Nikon are in the EXACT same boat right now - will they row safely to shore, or sink?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
wethackrey
By wethackrey (Dec 10, 2011)

@GMak - I do agree with your assessment regarding MIL cameras being a disruptive technology. Your comment that "Polaroid & Kodak failed to embrace digital photography because it was first seen as terribly inferior to standard film technology- they couldn't imagine it getting better!" is off the mark however. Kodak, in fact, made many of the first digital cameras. In 1986, Kodak invented the first megapixel (1.4MP) sensor. In 1990 Kodak introduced PhotoCD and in '91 and '92 they released the DCS and DCS-200. They gained some acceptance among photo journalists. I owned a DCS-200 in 1992. It was based on a Nikon N8008s body, shot at 1524x1012 and had an on-board 3.5" 80MB drive and a SCSI connector. It had a multiplier of 2.6.

So it isn't fair to say Kodak couldn't imagine digital replacing film. I consulted to them back then and they KNEW it would happen. They were just unable to execute in the face of the onslaught of competition from Nikon and a whole host of other companies in Asia.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
wethackrey
By wethackrey (Dec 10, 2011)

Further to my last post, I found an interesting series of pages dedicated to the history of Kodak digital imaging:
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/Kodak

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Sep 23, 2011)

Oh these smart analysts. LOL

0 upvotes
Ikari120378
By Ikari120378 (Sep 16, 2011)

We the old ones who are posting in here, will someday have to completely learn to accept, that something has changed, no matter how you're bragging about "the old ones are the best ever", or "it is like a toy compared to mine, the true professionals'".

0 upvotes
casualShots
By casualShots (Sep 14, 2011)

The consumer market will be much larger than the specialized one any day.
1.There is cost to consider. Compacts are less expensive. You can junk one and not cry over a years worth of stock investments :). You can give it to the wife or kids(or husband in some cases) and not worry about them wrecking the lens or dropping it or swinging it around.

2. Compacts(or good camera phones) are carried around more in everyday life. A lot of people want to have a camera handy at all time. More so due to social networking.

3.Compacts are less complicated. For the average user DSLR is great, but, not not everyone's interested.

I have seen a lot of people struggle to take pictures on any camera without face detect & VR. These features on the compacts make it easy for everyone to take decent snapshots. Most people would rather point and shoot whatever catches their fancy rather than worrying about exposures and bokeh.

They would probably say my Facebook pics are too small to notice detail anyway.

0 upvotes
mrjam
By mrjam (Sep 13, 2011)

What's extremely hilarious with this article is their constant references to "mirrorless SLRs" or "mirrorless being this percentage of SLR sales"...

Hello? SLR = Single Lens Reflex. ie. A MIRROR! There is no such thing as a mirrorless SLR. They are completely different.

If the author really knew what they were trying to report, they would remove all references to "SLRs", and replace them with "interchangeable lens cameras". Also, IMO, Fuji was not represented well in the article either. The market for mirrorless cameras should include the X100, even though it has a fixed lens.

0 upvotes
PK24X36NOW
By PK24X36NOW (Sep 13, 2011)

A lot of the usual BS here.

First, the equivocation of "what's popular in Japan" with "what will be popular in the rest of the world."

Next, the equivocation of the film-to-digital (or vinyl records to CDs) transition with the supposed "imminent replacement" of dSLRs with MIL cameras. Utter nonsense.

Oh, and the mother of all steaming piles - the assertion that MILs with mini sensors are going to challenge (ever) medium format for IQ! Sensors and "tech" can't outdo issues of optics and physics. Bigger formats will always have the advantage.

In order to replace dSLRs, MILs would actually have to be better than dSLRs. MILs are worse in many ways, like EVF that sucks compared to OVF (always will, all the "tech" in the world notwithstanding), worse battery life (always will be, since the EVF will need to consume battery power, unlike an OVF), worse handling, especially if larger format sensors are introduced (think soup can mounted on cigarette pack), second rate AF, ad nauseum.

1 upvote
Kenneth Margulies
By Kenneth Margulies (Sep 13, 2011)

What you cite as ridiculous equivocations (film to digital/vinyl to records, and might I add books to e-books) are historical examples of luddites predicting that technology would never change. The most popular camera brand on Flickr is now the iPhone 4. Kids today, who will be the pros of tomorrow, are not hooked on DSLRs. Not up to your standards, perhaps, but you may find yourself with your huge DSLR sitting in a vinyl record shop complaining how you miss the warm sound of stereos that used vacuum tubes, the colors of video tape, and the instant gratification of Polariods...perhaps as soon as within 10 years. : )

2 upvotes
sting
By sting (Sep 13, 2011)

" like EVF that sucks compared to OVF (always will, all the "tech" in the world notwithstanding)"

OVF offers no additional magnification or focusing or metering information. Take a higher end prsoumer or professional video camera for a ride to learn what about what you've been missing. Sure, I agree that EVFs have and are still inadequate in resolution. This is about to change in 2011-2012 and again in a few years. Ever watch a political event that is absolutely swamped with DSLR shutter release and mirror slap noise? It's no surprise that DSLRs are banned from just about every public event due to their noise and intrusion. Come on, you know you don't really want an OVF. You just want the best product. EVFs will eclipse OVFs within five years.

1 upvote
theswede
By theswede (Sep 13, 2011)

The biggest BS is that in order to replace something, the replacement has to be better (implicitly quality). History is full of counterexamples; VHS vs Betamax and CD vs mp3 are the obvious parallels. Convenience and ease of use beats out quality for the vast majority of consumers as long as the quality is good enough.

And the quality of mirrorless systems is certainly good enough. There is no reason for a first time buyer to go DSLR with increased cost, bulk and difficulty to get started in order to gain a small amount of quality which requires pixel peeping to appreciate.

4 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Sep 13, 2011)

The biggest BS for me is that for some idiotic reason people feel cameras have to be smaller to be better.
Camera handling ends up being forgotten about.

On top of that, if people don't get why sensor+glass size is an important factor in photography, you might as well just buy one of those iphone lens adaptors and call it a day.

0 upvotes
theswede
By theswede (Sep 13, 2011)

If people don't get why dynamic range, jitter and sample rate is an important factor in music reproduction, you might as well just buy one of those mp3 players and call it a day. And people do.

Or in other words, people generally don't get it, and a surprisingly large amount of those who do get it don't care. Convenience trumps quality when the convenient alternative is good enough. And since iphone cameras are good enough for most people ...

0 upvotes
CameraNut222
By CameraNut222 (Sep 14, 2011)

Sometimes the best photo is simply the one that you can take; if you're walking through a rough part of town for ex. you don't want to be carrying a big rig. Or if you're in a social situation. Sure there are photos that you cannot get without an SLR but the same can be said for compact/ Mirrorless ones. So it's more of a question of which camera is best for a given situation. Given the quality and price of the mirrorless ones I will for sure be adding one of these to my collection.

1 upvote
Chronis
By Chronis (Sep 19, 2011)

I agree....... DSLR as sooooooo going to be run over by MIL cameras.... it's not going to be tomorrow but when it will come it will come down like a tone of bricks.... we've seen that with film and digital.... one minute digital was a toy next thing we know is that you couldn't but a roll of film in your a shop around your house even if u tried.

who wants to lug around all this kit when one could get 95% of the performance at half the size... not many.....

0 upvotes
SLOOPB
By SLOOPB (Sep 12, 2011)

I just heard that someone spotted Ansel Adams wandering the Nevadas with a Sony NEX-C3!

3 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Sep 12, 2011)

What happens in the Japanese market is meaningless to other markets in the world. Just because curious Japanese amateurs are buying into M43 and E-mount systems does not mean serious pros are doing so.

Look at sales of game consoles in Japan compared to the rest of the world for proof.
Why would a pro change to a system that does not have an upgrade path to full frame? Why would a pro change to a system that forces them to use their camera at arms length? Why would a pro change to a lens mount that offers very little variety in lenses? Sure you can buy adapters to make other lenses fit, but why would a pro want to gimp their full frame lenses to only show a quarter (M43) of information that the lens is capable of bringing in?

I work in a camera store in Sydney and I sell cameras day in day out. Canon and Nikon DSLRS outsell M43, E-mount, Alpha-mount and Pentax mount systems by a factor of 1:10.
There is no contest so far.

0 upvotes
brianbxb
By brianbxb (Sep 12, 2011)

Maybe you are too close the whole subject to see it objectively.

In 3 years of development they have increased the sensitivity of the M43 18X13.5 mm sensor by a third to16 megapixels and it is just a matter of time before they catch up to the 40+MP Hasselblad/Leaf digital backs that outperform Nikon/Canon by most people's judgement. Same development path as the SD card.

Add to this the growing list of lens makers working with the M43 ( Voigtlander, Schneider, Leica, Zuiko etc. with the standardised auto focus in many cases ) format and you have an unbeatable system ( even if some of them are motivated by video sales ).

"Professionals" are subject to the same locked-in status of many of the amateurs with huge investments in propietary optics that keeps the big 2 afloat, for the time being.

0 upvotes
Hennie de Ruyter
By Hennie de Ruyter (Sep 12, 2011)

Canon and Nikon are not in the market to please serious pros. They are in the market to make money out of selling cameras. If there is a market for mirrorless cameras (there is) they will enter it. It is a matter of time.

Where they would alienate the serious pro (and a large number of others including myself) is when they discontinue traditional DSLRs. I can only see that happening when EVF is as good as OVF, if ever.

1 upvote
brianbxb
By brianbxb (Sep 13, 2011)

"Why would a pro change to a system that" DOES " have an upgrade path to full frame" . Full frame uses the 35mm film dimensions and I believe most of the true pro's in the film era used medium/large format film.

0 upvotes
theswede
By theswede (Sep 13, 2011)

Camera stores sell a minority of all cameras sold today.

1 upvote
Chronis
By Chronis (Sep 11, 2011)

there is a saying in business about companies who want to make sure they'll be around for the long haul

"if someone is to render your product irrelevant, that someone had better be you"

so despite the big talk about SLR superiority, viewfinders, L series lenses etc. technology never ceases to amaze us. 10 years ago there were people were prepared to eat their hat the day that film was to be replaced by the then silly 0.3mP toy cameras.... of course the rest is history....

Canon and Nikon will follow.... or they will follow Kodak at the hall of fame of photography in the section of "companies that were". which might be just as well, the duopoly has milked punters for decades now, it is about time they faced some competition

0 upvotes
thubleau3
By thubleau3 (Sep 11, 2011)

I don't think EVF will take off .Personally having used both systems EVF is a pain in the proverbial,inacurrate and slow.
Sure, mirrorless is the way they will head but I firmly believe that an alternative to the EVF will produce a much better mirrorless camera as the EVF is not the answer.
I predicted that Canon and Nikon would venture into mirrorless designs months ago ,but only when they started to see a drop in sales.
I also predict that they will come up with a much better option than an EVF.

0 upvotes
javaone
By javaone (Sep 12, 2011)

Are you really predicting that Electronics will not get faster and more accurate. Did you think the 1 MP pixel Digital Cameras would never replace film?

0 upvotes
sting
By sting (Sep 13, 2011)

".Personally having used both systems EVF is a pain in the proverbial,inacurrate and slow."

The AF is slow? Yes,but only on contrast detection systems of today. Faster processing will make contrast calculation faster. Sony's system splits the incoming light to the AF sensor and the mirrors.

Many of the criticisms of EVFs are based on immature EVF technology. Check out how even prosumer camcorder operators are attached viewfinder magnifiers to their LCDs for real-time historgrams and focusing aids such as "peaking"

0 upvotes
theswede
By theswede (Sep 13, 2011)

I got my first EVF camera in 2001. Even at that time it was better than entry level DSLR OVF's. The more recent ones are astoundingly good, and they keep getting better. EVF is most certainly the future - can't be beat for accuracy, and it's fast enough for most tasks already.

0 upvotes
Simon Zeev
By Simon Zeev (Sep 11, 2011)

The writing is on the wall. I'm sure that in less time than expected EVIL (mirrorless) cameras will replace DSLRs camera first at introductory models and in short time even for some professionals and advanced amateurs (those that don't need to impress with a big camera)
The EVF still needed and the last one from SONY sound good enough to replace every other viewfinder.( for me the VF-2 from Olympus is good enough)
The way to a professional EVIL camera will go trough water proof camera and good lenses.
An electronic shutter may be in the future also.

0 upvotes
DaMatta
By DaMatta (Sep 11, 2011)

Agree completely..!

0 upvotes
Kenneth Margulies
By Kenneth Margulies (Sep 10, 2011)

It's funny how many people are defensive about Canon not having a quality mirrorless product out yet, and therefore need to rip the Sony NEX or other mirrorless product. I am sure Canon will put out a quality mirrorless camera someday, but I am also sure they would rather not. Honestly, Canon is afraid of cannibalizing their own DSLR sales, but if the market is there, they will make a product. But Canon had better hurry. Just look at Kodak to see a company afraid to fully develop a product (digital) in order to protect established sales (film). Or Polariod. Or any tablet maker besides Apple -- they are all playing catch up to this day. Sony, Panasonic and Minolta obviously do not dominate the DSLR market and was therefore more amenable to putting out something new and exciting.

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (Sep 10, 2011)

Canon has already stated that they plan on responding next year, although they won't say if the response will be mirrorless or some kind of mini-DSLR.

(Reuters) "We are considering the technical aspects," Maeda said, when asked about the mirrorless segment. "We will launch an interesting product next year," he said, adding that it would be small, but not specifying whether it would be a mirrorless model."

In the mean time, Canon sales are great. BTW, (Source: Bloomberg), 81 percent of Canon's revenue comes from outside Japan. As the posted (different) Bloomberg article points out "Mirrorless cameras have yet to catch on outside of Japan..."

0 upvotes
danieljcox
By danieljcox (Sep 10, 2011)

Web address to my post below. Tried editing original but can't find out how to edit.

http://www.naturalexposures.com/corkboard/?s=gf1&x=26&y=17

0 upvotes
danieljcox
By danieljcox (Sep 10, 2011)

I find it interesting how many people continue to downplay mirrorless systems. Reminds me of the days photographers swore digital was just a FAD. Nikon and Canon should get on this band wagon fast. Panasonic has entered serious still photography through the back door. Sony bought their way in. Both will be major players in short order if Nikon and Canon don't wakeup and smell the coffee. you can read more about my experience with the Panasonic mirrorless system athttp://www.naturalexposures.com/corkboard/?s=gf1&x=26&y=17

1 upvote
Alex Notpro
By Alex Notpro (Sep 10, 2011)

Canikon has been quietly beta-testing a mirrorless DSLR. It's called "Live View Mode" and comes thrown in as a freebie in all their recent DSLRs.

It would not a huge engineering feat or marketing feat or even very surprising at all if one of them launches a lower-end DSLR which is basically a crippled DSLR - in the same body, except is stuck in LV mode with a covered-up OVF and missing mirror -- using the same lens mount!

It would be lighter and cheaper than a traditional DSLR, yet have the same sensor and lens selection. This would be just good enough to eat NEX-7's for lunch and yet not compete directly against the legacy DSLR architecture.

0 upvotes
Emacs23
By Emacs23 (Oct 7, 2011)

LOL
The mirroless short flange distance helps to decrease the size of lenses like 24-70 significantly. Canon will essentially lose the game with such an approach :)

0 upvotes
Roger Knight
By Roger Knight (Sep 9, 2011)

Well I think Mirrorless cameras and especially those without any viewfinder are a bit of a fad and really not what many entheusiasts will end up with. I think they will eventually migrate to SLR or even the new SONY system.
Having said that,iIt would be in both of Nikons and Canons best interests to at least get a mirrorles camera out there that uses their lens system rather than say Panasonic, Olympus, NEX or even Samsung so that everything they sell can move towards the ultimate purchases down the timeline when they start to become serious about serious photography where only an SLR will do the job most times.

0 upvotes
AlephNull
By AlephNull (Sep 10, 2011)

Mirrorless is no fad. The steady removal of mechanical parts from cameras is a progression.

The proponents of mirrorless touts the ability to go smaller as a big feature of mirrorless, while the opponents point to the disadvantages of smaller sensors. Isn't that missing an opportunity

I see no reason why a company (I can think of at least two...) with an existing arsenal of high quality full-frame lenses could not make a mirrorless camera using a full-frame sensor. No need to build an entire new range of lenses; customers can use their existing lenses; customers can mix/and/match mirrorless and DSLR bodies with the same lens kit and accessories. Yes, these would be heavier, larger mirrorless bodies, but they would have superior image quality due to larger sensor size. No mirror slap, no view-finder blackout, no shutter lag - they could be superior to OVF cameras in every way except phase-detect AF.

0 upvotes
theswede
By theswede (Sep 13, 2011)

Very few amateurs ever reach the point where only an SLR will do the job. In fact, most never reach the point where a phone camera will not do the job. SLR's are going the way of vinyl and laserdisc; excellent quality if you want to invest the time, money and effort, but not very interesting for the average consumer.

0 upvotes
wuzzittoya
By wuzzittoya (Sep 9, 2011)

http://www.eoshd.com/content/346/exclusive-canon-eis-60-revealed-high-end-mirrorless-camera-with-pixel-fusion-technology

Maybe Canon isn't as slow to react, but instead plays their cards closer to their chest.

2 upvotes
jnada
By jnada (Sep 9, 2011)

I think everyone here is on the wrong tangent. The Bloomberg article is not talking about small sensor vs large sensor with no mirror. As an owner of a Sony A55 I can tell you that it uses the same APS sensor as the Nikon D7000. The main advantage of a no mirror camera is the diminished size of the Camera and (something that no one seems to mention) the ability to manipulate exposure (especially with the spot meter) before taking the shot. Even though DSLR’s now carry Live View on their back panels, no one really wants to hold their DSLR as if it’s a point and shoot. The new tipping point will probably be the New Sony A77 and A65. A 25 megapixel DSLR with a 2.4 megapixel OLED display at the same price points as a NIKON D7000 and D5000 respectively.

3 upvotes
joyclick
By joyclick (Sep 9, 2011)

Its time both Canon and Nikon sing in chorus" Those were the days, my friend....We thought will never end"!

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 9, 2011)

I think that's the song everyone else will be singing once Nikon and Canon decide to jump in.

1 upvote
joyclick
By joyclick (Sep 9, 2011)

Who and what is stopping them from jumping in?

0 upvotes
Duckie
By Duckie (Sep 9, 2011)

Mirrorless cameras shrink more in image quality than it shrinks in size.

Of course when market share is discussed, let's not base everything on product quality. Product push is a factor as well. The advantage of novelty is difficult to beat. At least in terms of mindshare the mirrorless ones are making good inroads. I want a very different recipie in the compromise of size and quality. I demand a smaller package with better image quality. For electronics, it is easier. For optics, difficult. Any remember the ill fated disc camera and the APS? Smaller size, less quality, jacked up prices for inferior goods, the pros stay away, the enthuists followed suit except for gadget players. I want something in between the Pentax Q and the bigger sized mirrorless architectures, with excellent lenses and demonstrably better image quality.

3 upvotes
Edwrd
By Edwrd (Sep 12, 2011)

The old brand prejudice is just silly. I'm surprised I still see this in so many ways with similar products made by different companies. Cameras, motorcycles, computers, operating systems, etc.. My Honda is better than your Suzuki, my Apple is better than your PC, my iPhone is better than your . . .
Give it up already.
Oh, by the way . . . my Sony is better than your Canon. ;-)

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Sep 9, 2011)

Cameras without an optical viewfinder have been a strong niche for 5 yrs in the PS arena. But, can they replace part or all of the SLR market?

Well, battery drain on my canon D10 has repeatedly ruined key photo ops on major travels. And, digital viewfinders have by now firmly established themselves as features of cheap, low-end products that slow down picture taking - I have seen PS users express frustration with this repeatedly. In the past 10 months 4 friends sought advice about getting a DSLR to start taking "better quality photos" because of some life change (new child, marriage, etc). Far from fleeing to cheap cameras or asking "is there a slightly bigger, heavier, more expensive version of my cheap PS that I can buy," people go right for what they perceive as quality, the DSLR. No concern with size is expressed, in fact people love flashing DSLRs in public. Does anyone do a double take in public and say "ooh, look at the iphone that guy's holding?"

2 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Sep 9, 2011)

What Canikon needs to do is make pancake and F2 wide-angle lenses for DX, because that is what pulls me towards Sony Zeiss 24mm F1.8 or Olympus Zuiko 12mm F2, most of all !

1 upvote
brianbxb
By brianbxb (Sep 9, 2011)

Nikon and Canon are paying the price for their short-sighted commercial plan of milking and churning their locked-in SLR users ( with substantial investments in their propietary lenses ) with continual upgrades giving very marginal improvements in photographic quality. Just look at their model ranges. A 35% loss in market share is shocking but the good times had to come to an end one day.

Their only hope ; sign up to the M43 standard and trust that they can compete with Oly/Pana on the quality of their cameras, sensors and optics. SLR's have been in evolving over 127 years versus the 3 years of the MILC.

0 upvotes
Noogy
By Noogy (Sep 9, 2011)

Interesting read. However, my ten-cents is - I am really much less "worried" about digital technology changes or evolutions than I am about the ability of my photography skills to catch up with the trends :-) Seriously, regardless of the technology that will emerge to be dominant, I would still be more focused on improving my skills. I shoot with a 7D and an NEX-5, I love both formats - now off to the field for more practice!

3 upvotes
benny_wong
By benny_wong (Sep 9, 2011)

Full frame mirror less will be the king

1 upvote
chetcarson
By chetcarson (Sep 9, 2011)

...on the tripod

2 upvotes
IEBA1
By IEBA1 (Sep 9, 2011)

"Japanese" mirrorless?
As opposed to USA's mirrorless? Or Greenland's?

And where are Canon & Nikon headquartered?

The title makes you think there's some sorty of international rivalry when it's really just about camera designs.

How about a more accurate title: "Mirrorless cameras eat away established DLSR sales."

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 9, 2011)

It's the rapid growth of mirrorless cameras in Japan that underpins the story. The rest of the world is behind this trend (though it looks like Europe will follow next). Thus it is Japanese mirrorless growth that signals a threat to Canon and Nikon. So that needs to be stressed.

3 upvotes
L Bradford
By L Bradford (Sep 9, 2011)

Mirrorless is the future, period. This is not surprising. Thank you Panasonic for your forward thinking creation...

0 upvotes
taintedcamera
By taintedcamera (Sep 9, 2011)

I didn't know that Panasonic wrote the papers on m43.
Maybe they should have called it Micro-Panavision instead of
Micro Four Thirds, to avoid cofusion with the Four Thirds Olympus system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Thirds_system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Four_Thirds_system

0 upvotes
Photato
By Photato (Sep 9, 2011)

To be honest everybody was late.
Why nobody saw the potential of the mirrorless market back in 2004?
All were busy doing me too SLRs.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Sep 9, 2011)

Probably just contrast detect focus that wasn't fast enough along with components that weren't yet small enough, perform and hold as big a sensor.

0 upvotes
cberry
By cberry (Sep 10, 2011)

Mirrorless = big sensor p&s with interchangeable lenses.
It costs money to create a market segment and since N&C seem to be selling the most lenses, I think it's only natural that in the event of this segment growing, they will be huge beneficiaries and you'd hardly describe them as late entrants if they're making most of the glass.
Technically, it looks like a dropped feature than innovation.
My thoughts center round handling and how to make a very lens-heavy camera usable. Probably the way forward is a shutter release/handle that attaches to a tripod mount on the lens with a quick-release shoe.

0 upvotes
TheTeh
By TheTeh (Sep 9, 2011)

To me lens matters more than camera body be it mirror or mirrorless.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Sep 9, 2011)

True, except that horrible controls take out all the fun of photography. You're not just doing it for the results, at least i'm not. I have not yet found a mirrorless that just has sensible controls, positioned intuitively and logically, without a ton of 'user-friendly' nonsense inbetween to mess it up.

0 upvotes
F Stop Fitzgerald
By F Stop Fitzgerald (Sep 11, 2011)

M. Jesper: if you want a mirrorless with a pro DSLR level UI , look at the Ricoh GXR

0 upvotes
snegron
By snegron (Sep 9, 2011)

None of this would be happening had Nikon re-introduced their "S" series rangefinders in digital versions (like Leica with their M8) like most of us asked them to.

0 upvotes
Cyril Reif
By Cyril Reif (Sep 9, 2011)

Don't underestimate the mirrorless cameras...I've been a Nikon SLR/DSLR user since 1968 (I still have my original Nikon F from 1972), but I have almost exclusively been using my GF1 since I got it in 4/2010.

Canon and Nikon can wait and let the other manufacturers establish the global demand and then jump in because they still "own" the brands that everyone knows and wants to buy. If I look at me experience, I can see a scenario that every serious DSLR photographer will also be carrying a mirrorless camera, one for every Canon and Nikon DSLR sold.

0 upvotes
Photato
By Photato (Sep 9, 2011)

Yes, they can afford to wait.
Is not about the first coming to market but the one who got it right.
I'm sure Canon and Nikon are studying, tracking, learning about the mirrorless market to jump at the right moment.
We are talking about the chance to come up with a new lens mount, which should be carefully consider and this is very likely where the mass market will grow.

0 upvotes
TrapperJohn
By TrapperJohn (Sep 9, 2011)

Or can they? Back in the late 70's and early 80's, Nikon ruled the roost, with Canon a very distant second. Then, along came a little thing called autofocus. Canon was quick to move, Nikon was slow, and got knocked out of the top spot, something no one ever thought would happen back then. By the time Nikon woke up and started belatedly producing AF cameras ( I still have their first effort, the F3AF), it was too late. Over twenty years later, Nikon finally regained parity.

No one is too big or too popular to become obsolete.

0 upvotes
Antonio Antunes
By Antonio Antunes (Sep 9, 2011)

"Canon and Nikon can wait and let the other manufacturers establish the global demand and then jump in because they still "own" the brands that everyone knows and wants to buy."

Doing this would be an immense error. They should be showing off a mirrorless camera already. I'm buying a camera this fall (I'm a compact upgrader) and after pondering a lot on how to spend my 1k euros, I've made up my mind to go for a NEX-5N. Had Canon or Nikon made available a similar product, I would have been pulled towards them irresistibly; and like me there's right now thousands going for Sony, Panasonic, Olympus or Samsung. In 5 years time, they'll be changing cameras again but then there'll be a new camera brand in the household...

0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Sep 9, 2011)

Getting it right when they enter the market is much more important than when they enter. Sony quickly caught up with Olympus and Panasonic in mirrorless sales, despite entering almost two years after them.

Nikon was getting trounced by Canon in the professional DSLR market and turned things around overnight with the D3.

0 upvotes
tocar
By tocar (Sep 9, 2011)

Canon and Nikon is probably studying the market for now and designing their next 'system'. Diversification is the best way of making a profit.

I think Canon's LiveView feature is a step into the mirrorless world. Canon could modify the LiveView where no mirror would be involved. Canon had a Pellicle mirror camera (RT) and hopefully can bring it back and with today's technology make it more translucent and cheaper. My friend has a NEX5 and it's too light for me. It's like a P/S camera with an interchangeable lens.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 9, 2011)

Mainstream media is years late again. I think there was a New York Times article in 2006 touting about the coming age of shopping online.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 9, 2011)

Bloomberg is reporting a Japanese trend based on solid sales data - a trend the rest of the world has yet to follow. So there's not years behind - they're reporting what's happening now, not what might happen, based on the launch of an exciting model.

Lot's of us saw the potential of mirrorless when it arrived (and had been discussing it with manufacturers for years before that), but that's not the same as having concrete sales data to show that it is living up to that potential.

0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Sep 9, 2011)

Market share data can be misleading because they say nothing about profits. While the article noted that both DSLRs were very profitable for both Canon and Nikon last year, it failed to provide information about mirrorless revenue/ profits for any of the companies selling mirrorless cameras. Olympus had a 25% decrease in imagaing division revenue for the 2011 fiscal year (which ended March31, 2011). Its compacts probably account for much of that decline, but the fact remains that mirrorless has yet to make make its camera division profitable.

0 upvotes
brianbxb
By brianbxb (Sep 9, 2011)

The article was naive ( I agree with Hootsmon ) and factually flawed in that the motivation for mirrorless-ness was simplifying camera mechanics rather than saving the cost of a mirror or miniaturisation. Did the medium format designers sit round a table and say " I have a great idea - a much bigger camera ! ".
I don't believe 4/3 has compromised IQ vis-a-vis the SLR as the financial journalist says and while I think the standardised sensor size for M4/3 is a bit small, the technology is already well on the way to forcing comparable resolution in there.

1 upvote
Virgilio G Santos
By Virgilio G Santos (Sep 9, 2011)

aside from the "turntable-vinyl market reduction due to digital disc" analogy.... let us be reminded that even discs went thru a miniaturization process. remember movies on laser discs (and you even have to flip them to read the backside!) just to finish a movie? then came the DVD, and it has many times the capacity of that huge laser-disc thing (a laser-dic is as big as a vinyl record, for those who forgot what it is). who would have thought that huge laser-disc size storage capability can be stowed in a smaller size. and then the BluRay came in, and now treatens the DVD's existence. life goes on...

point is- those small-size sensors you now dismiss as "small" may soon have the capability of capturing images better than a medium-format (i'm talking about the size) in the very near future. let's wait a while.

0 upvotes
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Sep 9, 2011)

Well, its a matter of physics. Pixel size is important, very important. Pixel don`t store data, they recive it. Lets say that 6x crop sensor has 20 Mpx. If we use the same pixel size on FF format we could go to 720Mpx with the same IQ. (6*6*20). But even if we could make the smaller pixel recive the same quality data as the larger pixel we have the problem with lens resolution.

Leica lenses resolve about 600 lines / mm. On 36*24 sensor its 300Mpx, nikon and canon are worse then that.
If you put that lens on 4*6mm sensor you get 8Mpx of lens resolution. And we cannot expect that to change any time soon.
In conclusion: larger format will always produce finer images.

0 upvotes
javaone
By javaone (Sep 9, 2011)

If Nikon was making for a smaller sensor they can make higher quality lenses. (The also make lenses used in making chips)

People assume people will always choose image quality over size.
I had someone say "I am going to China I will just take my Iphone to take pictures." If facebook is his only outlet for his pictures he was not to far off.

Size of a system can be an important aspect of getting a picture. I have had people love my image quality with my big lens. But more people love the photographs with my 18-200. I could move around fast enough to get the shot a the angle I want. If could get the same range with the same IQ as the D300 in .2 the weight I might be tempted. Right now my next buy would be the AW100. It can go where no SLR can, In my pocket at the beach.

0 upvotes
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Sep 9, 2011)

``If Nikon was making for a smaller sensor they can make higher quality lenses. (The also make lenses used in making chips)``

Yes, its the 1.000.000$ lens. Lets us all put that one on our p&s.
its all a trade off, as i earlier said IQ/portability, and i think that D700 has the best ratio. D7000 + 35/1.8 is the very best IQ/portability/price at the moment.
Lens can not get any better if it is smaller. m4/3, and P&S, or phones have their place in photo industry, but 35mm is around for 100 years and is not going away any time soon.

0 upvotes
IanSeward
By IanSeward (Sep 9, 2011)

@Ivanaker
You are correct large format will always produce finer images, that is why pros use a Leica S2 or Phase One backs.

Image quality is often quoted in this thread but consider what you do with your images today? Post them on line?, view them on a 50 inch big screen TV?, produce a photo-book? or print 40 inch wide prints?

Apart from the latter even the big screen TV only uses 2Mp so sensors with 16 - 24Mp look a little over the top for the real world.

The question is now that small, lightweight mirrorless cameras are available which are more than capable of exceeding the vast majority of peoples real world camera needs, how many will IN THE FUTURE purchase full frame 35mm? About the same number of people who buy medium format today?

1 upvote
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Sep 9, 2011)

So whats the point of m4/3 or any other camera when we all have 5MPX mobile phones?
We all know that it is not about Mpx.

I just got an idea :) lets put m4/3 in next Iphone.

0 upvotes
Duckie
By Duckie (Sep 9, 2011)

It is not the senor size. It is the limitation of the optics avaialble now. If people want it small and light, there are way smaller cameras. This mirror less camera is treading a new compromise in size and quality and landed in a half/half compromise areas. Some will definitely be attracted by it, others will not. It eats into both ends (DSLR and point and shoot markets). Good to have more choices. Good to see new ideas being tried (and that may end up benefiting other sectors). I really want one as well and I'll stay true to the promise that image quality should be comparable with DSLR. I haven't find one yet in the market but will keep looking....

0 upvotes
kevin_r
By kevin_r (Sep 9, 2011)

CaNikon is probably busy developing/testing fast phase difference autofocus built into the sensor [somehow]. This could eliminate the irksome situation of the pellicle miror as Sony has it now. If this can be eliminated the sky's the limit and Sony will have a real battle on their hands unless they can produce their own sensor with phase AF built in.

0 upvotes
Bilgy_no1
By Bilgy_no1 (Sep 9, 2011)

How would that make a difference? The lens mount specifications dictate a certain distance between imaging plane and rear element of the lens. If you take the need for the mirror-box construction away, you still need to maintain the distance to be able to use the existing lenses.

SLT is there to allow fast AF during video, as well as to provide the advantages of liveview to A-mount users. Size advantage is mostly in the prism bump, but thickness of the cameras is still like the DSLRs.

Canon/Nikon's dilemma is this:
- create a mirrorless system with optimal compatibility with existing lenses. But this will mean the camera's will be limited in design options (size)
- Create a new mirrorless system to go for the best possible mirrorless camera in the market, but this could 'liberate' existing users with lens investments.

Nikon's rumoured camera will be a compromise: smaller sensor to protect its DSLR + Lens business. Let's see how that fares...
-

1 upvote
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Sep 9, 2011)

No doubt Sony are already working on the in-sensor PDAF, and both FF and APS-C. Their focus now is on SLT's which has shown to be highly successiful on the market and the mirrorless NEX cameras which are selling like hot cakes.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a Sony anounced with in-sensor PDAF yet by 2012.

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Sep 9, 2011)

Although I don't understand what's the "irksome situation of pellicle mirrors" you mentioned ( Sony DSLTs are a huge success ), Sony have already shown they're ahead of everyone on technology and in-sensor PDAF is surely also in their current development program. However the main focus ( no pun ) is on the SLT and NEX.

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Sep 9, 2011)

Not a surprise at all. Even though that mirror-less cameras are still a minority today - I think that many of today's amateur shooters may switch to mirror-less camera once the time will come for their DSLR to be replaced. And as most people do not dump their expensive camera after a year or two, many potential mirror-less shooters may well keep shooting their DSLR for next few years. The mirror-less cameras really gained momentum and attention only over last 1 - 2 years (and this momentum keeps growing) - so my expectation is that their maket share will grow significantly over next 2 - 3 years. The iamge of SLR as a "real" camera will slowly fade.

At some point Canon and/or Nikon will certainly join. There are many things they can learn from the current market and they can avoid many mistakes which others did while pioneering in this field.

... Even Leica announced mirror-less (APS-C?) camera to be shown in 2012.

1 upvote
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Sep 9, 2011)

There are only 2 factors that give better image quality in technical terms: lens and film (sensor) size. Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and Canon are making great lenses. Large format cameras will always produce better IQ than medium, medium than 35mm, 35mm than aps-c, aps-c than m4/3, m4/3 then cell phones, etc...
Mirror will eventualy disapear, thats for sure, but real pros will always look for the best IQ / portability ratio, and at the moment 5d mk 2 and D700 are the best digital cameras.

0 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Sep 9, 2011)

what about Sony a900, Phase one, Hasselblad, Leaf, Pentax 645, Nikon D3x etc. There are many best cameras at the moment ;-)

0 upvotes
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Sep 9, 2011)

``but real pros will always look for the best IQ / portability ratio, and at the moment 5d mk 2 and D700 are the best digital cameras.``
5d mk 2 and D700 have the best ratio, and if you add the price they are real winners. Those cameras you mentioned have great IQ, greatest maybe, but lack portabilty needed by the action/landscape/street shooters.

1 upvote
Eleson
By Eleson (Sep 9, 2011)

But real Pro's maybe don't by enough cameras to count :)

0 upvotes
Virgilio G Santos
By Virgilio G Santos (Sep 9, 2011)

ok, maybe not really extinct or obsolete (the DSLR) ....but like one post here said earlier- the market for DSLR may get smaller. and yes- technology moves on. turntables and vinyls seem to have lived forever (even with all those technological advancements for them), but has to be a niche market soon as digital discs came in. why, even DVDs seem to be the end of the disc technology- until BluRay came in. and 5-10 years earlier you'd sound ridiculous saying you need hard-discs in the terrabyte capacity.

point is- we just have to accept reality- there is an ever increasing pace of development in technology. i can understand it may be a painful reality for those who already have invested big budgets on those DinoSLR equipment they now have, and suddenly here are people saying their whole gear is obsolete.

and yes.... CanoNikon is simply playing wait-and-see. once they realize what's going on- it's "follow the leaders" once more for them.

0 upvotes
Duckie
By Duckie (Sep 9, 2011)

non slr comeras are still not good enough if image quality is considered. Of course for a lot of people this is not the sole criterion and I'm fine with that. We need way more choices of lenses.

For Viewfinder, if I can't properly view, I can't shoot at all. Body size is one factor of this as well

I want less weight, but not at the cost of compromising everything.

Those mirrorless cameras are not cheap at this stage. They are not really significantly smaller or lighter. Image quality compromises, especially lense quality is significant. It is still sort of not compelling yet. Manual focusing is harder to achieve. I kept watching but never convinced enough to bite.

0 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Sep 9, 2011)

Well a Sony Nex delivers just as good an image quality as an Nikon D7000, or any other APS-C camera.

0 upvotes
Duckie
By Duckie (Sep 9, 2011)

This is not true and oversimplifying. Vignetting and typical softness of the lenses anywhere except the centre are common architectural issues when people try to shrink lenses too much. If you mount an adaptor and put in proper lenses such issues may be reduced or eliminated. I have no problem with having more camera systems to choose (I like it). But no, they are not the same and this has been stopping me from taking the bite. Arguably vignetting can be electronically compensated but when you received less light, you received less image contents (or details!) Take any such mirrorless camera of your choice and look at the off centre image quality and judge for yourself. Compare it with any SLR with really good lenses. Let's skip the DOF discussion altogether for the time being.

0 upvotes
Giuseppe Fallica
By Giuseppe Fallica (Sep 9, 2011)

The utility of the "mirror" was exclusively based on the existence of the film as a recording support.
Today, as the media is a "senso"r, which allows viewing of real shot (through the viewfinder or the LCD screen), SLR architecture does not make sense anymore: it's just a survival of the past that, sooner or later, will disappear. The philosophy of the Sony NEX-/ or Samsung NV200, marks the way of the professional cameras of the future.

0 upvotes
dylanbarnhart
By dylanbarnhart (Sep 9, 2011)

I wouldn't say "mirror was exclusively based on the existence of the film". The biggest advantage of the mirror is allowing phase detection autofocus, which is superior to contrast-based autofocus, especially when tracking moving subjects.

0 upvotes
IanSeward
By IanSeward (Sep 9, 2011)

The mirror is there to give "through the lens" viewing.

The clue is in the name SLR single-lens reflex, rather than the then existing TLR or twin-lens reflex. In this regard it does become optional with digital.

With regard to auto-focus, yes at present tracking is not as good but focus accuracy is better simply because you focus on the sensor. With pdaf there are limitations, lens are calibrated at 50x focal length and at one focal length for zooms.

0 upvotes
photonion
By photonion (Sep 9, 2011)

DSLR is a relic of the past. Period. We got rid of the film, time to get rid of the mirror. Some of the arguments here remind me the days when people would say that film will never die, digital is for amateurs etc... Gentlemen life moves on, technology moves on, so keep in mind that probably some of you were arguing some years ago that film would never die...

5 upvotes
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Sep 9, 2011)

not really true is it. these mirrorless cameras are for me too small. they don't have the balance or the size that I feel comfortable with. Sure if you want a small body with a large lens then these are the way to go. AFAIK only the new panasonic 14-28 pancake zoom is small enough to make sense with these cameras.

I like image quality first and APS-C sensors just don't cut it.

0 upvotes
Squawkin' Galah
By Squawkin' Galah (Sep 9, 2011)

I agree, the mirror is probably unnecessary now we don't have film, however a lot of us have perfectly good SLR lenses which wont fit onto the new smaller bodies, so DSLRs are the way to go for us. I love my D700, but sometimes I wish it was a lot smaller and weighed a lot less :)

1 upvote
Ikari120378
By Ikari120378 (Sep 16, 2011)

Then there'll be mirrorless cameras with standard SLRs' size...

0 upvotes
twanton
By twanton (Sep 9, 2011)

I waited 9 years for a worthy follow-up for my Canon Powershot G3 (f 2.0, mind you). And the winner is: Panasonic Lumix G3. If only Canon rebuild their own G3 with todays technology. As big as the old one, with meaningfull buttons, a nice screen and all the features. (look it up).

0 upvotes
Wong Ping
By Wong Ping (Sep 9, 2011)

This news reminds me of Nokia.

0 upvotes
MisterBG
By MisterBG (Sep 9, 2011)

Looking at the typical tourists around London, I'd say camera usage matches that noted by Jonathan F/2. Lots of DSLR and P&S/Phone cams with the occasional m4/3.
Personally, I prefer to have my cameras made by a company known for its photographic and optical products, rather than its TV's and Microwaves.

0 upvotes
Joele
By Joele (Sep 9, 2011)

"Personally, I prefer to have my cameras made by a company known for its photographic and optical products,"

What unlike Olympus??

1 upvote
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Sep 9, 2011)

yes photocopiers makes more sense than TV's

0 upvotes
mungozan
By mungozan (Sep 9, 2011)

This is good news: maybe Canon and Nikon finally wake up!

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Sep 9, 2011)

We would've seen the new generation slr's from them by now if they weren't working so hard on a mirrorless first that hey could just no longer avoid. ;)

0 upvotes
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Sep 9, 2011)

I think people here analyze too much. I just got back from Disneyland and the majority of photographers either had DSLRs, fixed lens P&S cameras or their cell phones. I literally counted only 4 mirrorless bodies out of dozens of the other cameras. While I love my m43 setup, DSLRs are still going strong in America.

0 upvotes
lightsculpture
By lightsculpture (Sep 9, 2011)

I hope Nikon and Canon take their time to design a proper MILC system that is well thought through and practical. The current MILC market is a huge mess if you ask me.

Models being released every few months to 'correct' mistakes of previous models. Olympus and Panasonic is releasing the 3rd version of their kit lens within a couple of years. Sony's 18-55mm has some serious sharpness issues and their NEX5/3 does not even have proper AEL button. No one can decide if they want a flash hot-shoe or a popup flash, etc. People buy them because of the sense of novelty. In terms of picture true quality and usability, few of them make the cut.

I bought at least 3 MILC in the past 3 years and feel they are still under engineered and somehow inadequate. Finally, Sony came out with a seemingly well designed NEX7 and they went and add 9mpx worth of noise into their well designed 16mpx sensor and created the 25 mpx.

Seriously, I would rather Canon and Nikon take their time and design a proper MILC

2 upvotes
dylanbarnhart
By dylanbarnhart (Sep 9, 2011)

I think you're exactly right. Canon is playing the wait-and-see game while everyone else is doing trial-and-error game.

The errors could be fatal and can't be corrected without introducing a new camera mount. For example, Sony NEX and Samsung NX will never be as small as M43 (system wise) because the larger sensor demands larger lenses. If it turns out that the market prefers the smallest possible size, then they will be in trouble. The Pentax Q suddenly lost its small-size appeal when Panasonic releases a pancake zoom lens. Olympus chooses to have image stabilization in the body, which heats up for video, and has to switch to the inferior software-based stabilization for video.

The biggest error of all is the inability of any of these companies to retain a large price margin, and to sell more lenses/accessories. Price war has begun and people are starting to expect sub $400 mirrorless cameras. Profit is squeezed.

In the mean time, Canon watches and awaits the strike.

0 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Sep 9, 2011)

How can you write that Sony added 9Mp of noise when you havn't seen any photos from a camera with final firmware, and no one has seen anything from the NEX 7.

1 upvote
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Sep 9, 2011)

A lot of people bought entry level dSLRs even though really it was too big and complicated for them simply because there wasn't any alternative back 3-4 years ago. It was either that or a small sensor compact.

Mirrorless ILC seem to end up about the right size and complexity level for people who want to carry a camera, but don't want to look like a photographer. i.e. most people who do not consider photography to be their hobby.

Nikon will soon announce a mirrorless camera, but it is positioned below entry level dSLR, closer to high end compacts. Canon has three options: follow Nikon (most likely) and make a small sensor mirrorless, stay the course and cede marketshare, or develop a large sensor mirrorless system of their own (like NEX). I do not believe it is possible to make a dSLR significantly smaller than it is already.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 184
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